11 Best Desktop Computers For Architects | Reviews & Buying Guide

For those constantly on the move, having portable machines like laptops and mobile workstations is essential for work and entertainment purposes. 

But this portability comes at a cost, and these devices are somewhat limited when it comes to raw operational power. That’s the biggest reason traditional desktop computers still reign supreme when it comes to performance. This is especially true in fields like architecture and graphic design, which require powerful software for 3D processing, modeling, and rendering tasks. 

To run such software, you need computers with powerful components, and using a machine that cannot handle such heavy loads can affect your working efficiency and performance. But finding the right computer requires investing a significant amount of time, which many people do not have. 

That’s why we’ve decided to share this guide here, which contains detailed reviews of the best available options. So, check them out before making a decision. 

11 Best Desktop Computers For Architects

Man architect explaining building construction structure to his engineer collegue developing new architectural prototype. Creativity team working in architecture industry planning technical maquette. Best desktop computers for architects.

1. Corsair Gaming PC

Corsair is a name familiar to gamers as well as professionals working in creative industries like graphic design and architecture. This computer hardware company offers premium quality products like this gaming desktop, which comes with impressive features like the latest Nvidia graphics and DDR5 memory, offering a fantastic experience. 

Corsair ONE i300 Compact Gaming PC (Intel Core i9-12900K CPU, NVIDIA...
  • Huge Power, Small Size: Power through the most...
  • Reliable CORSAIR Components: Play in confidence...

Why Did We Like It?

Offering a fantastic selection of features, the Corsair desktop impressed us right from the start. It is a small form-factor PC with a cutting-edge design that helps save space without compromising performance. Despite its small size, it can complete almost any task without hiccups thanks to the powerful 12th generation i9 processor, the latest iteration from Intel. 

This is combined with Nvidia Geforce RTX graphics, a high-end offering designed and developed especially to handle graphic-intensive tasks like designing, modeling, and gaming. And, you can multitask with ease due to the presence of the Corsair Vengeance DDR5 memory, which provides an unparalleled level of speed, making your creative workflow smoother and faster. 

What’s more, even with these powerful components, the machine operates silently without causing any distractions.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

While testing, we did not notice any significant downsides to this amazing product from Corsair. However, you should note that the iCue software included with it has some issues with the Windows 11 operating system. But this does not affect the overall performance of the machine, which remains unbeatable. 

  • Very quiet performance
  • Supports almost all accessories
  • Two-year warranty
  • Superb customer support
  • Issue with iCue software

2. Corsair Workstation Class PC

Another fantastic option from Corsair is the Corsair One Pro workstation-class PC, powered by the AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 graphics. Offering a compact and modern design with powerful internals, this versatile machine delivers outstanding performance and is a great choice for artists, gamers, and architects. 

Corsair ONE PRO a200 Compact Workstation-Class PC - AMD Ryzen™ 9...
  • The CORSAIR ONE PRO packs all the rendering,...
  • An AMD Ryzen 9 5950X processor with 16 cores makes...

Why Did We Like It?

The first thing we noticed about this desktop computer was its compact form, which the company claims takes less space than a laptop. This is even more impressive when you consider the powerful components that are present inside. 

These include the Ryzen 9 5950X CPU, which easily outperforms the i9 12th generation processor from its competitor Intel due to its incredibly high clock speed and 16 cores. Also, this Corsair workstation comes with the Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 GPU, which supports CUDA and real-time ray tracing technologies. 

Similarly, for faster multitasking, you get dual-channel DDR4 Corsair Vengeance RAM, which eliminates lags and makes the designing, modeling, and content creation processes more enjoyable. But the feature we were most impressed with was its liquid cooling, which reduces CPU and GPU temperatures, helping the machine deliver better performance with minimal heat and noise.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

The Corsair workstation is an amazing option that comes with capable hardware and can deliver an amazing experience. It only loses out on the latest DDR5 RAM support, which would have made this an even better pick. That said, it is still a highly compelling choice for most users. 

  • Small form-factor
  • Silent operation
  • Liquid cooling support
  • Sturdy build quality
  • No DDR5 support

3. Apple Mac Mini

Apple is known for delivering high-performance machines designed especially for creative professionals, and the 2020 Mac Mini is another remarkable offering in this category. With the latest M1 chip consistently delivering better results than competing processors, this is a highly recommended choice for those looking for a Windows alternative. 

Apple 2020 Mac Mini M1 Chip (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU,...
  • 8-core CPU packs up to 3x faster performance to...

Why Did We Like It?

While Apple is generally known for its Macbooks and iPads, its Mini PC has managed to outshine both, and with good reason. The M1 chip, designed in-house by the company, has managed to beat both Intel and Ryzen processors by delivering unmatched performance. 

Unlike these processors, the M1 comes integrated with multiple functions, including the CPU, GPU, neural engine, and more. Additionally, its eight cores deliver up to three times faster performance than the previous generation, so you can multitask easily. This is also aided by the 8 GB unified memory, enabling the completion of more complex tasks efficiently. 

And while the internals has undergone a change, the outside comes with the same reliable construction that sets Apple products apart from the crowd.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

Being an Apple device, the Mac Mini is an extremely expensive device that many people might not be willing to purchase. If that is the case, it is best to look at options from other brands. But for the performance that this machine delivers, it fully justifies the asking price. 

  • Stellar performance
  • Durable construction
  • A wide array of ports
  • Tiny footprint
  • Expensive

4. Dell XPS Desktop Computer

Dell is among the most popular computing brands known for its high-quality machines and accessories for work and play. And its XPS line offers machines that can deliver extreme performance, such as this desktop PC with the latest Intel processor and large chassis, which make maintenance and upgrades easier. 

Dell XPS 8950 Desktop Computer - 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700K, 16GB...
  • POWERFUL PERFORMANCE: The XPS 8950 desktop...
  • INCREDIBLE GRAPHICS: The GeForce RTX 3060 graphics...

Why Did We Like It?

Unlike the previous options on this list, the Dell XPS desktop comes with a large chassis with an easily removable panel that does not require any tools. This enables easy access to the internal components, making the upgrade and maintenance processes more convenient than machines with smaller form factors. 

It is powered by the Intel i7 12700k, which has intel UHD graphics built into it and is more than capable of handling tasks requiring intense CPU rendering and modeling. The GPU rendering is performed by the Nvidia Geforce GTX 3060 graphics card, which is perfect for architects and designers. 

Another thing we liked about this PC was its efficient design, which promotes better cooling by allowing cool air to flow over the components without recirculating. This helps keep the temperatures under control, ensuring consistently high performance.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only downside to this desktop PC from Dell is that it does not come with an HDMI port. If you have a monitor that only supports HDMI, you will need to buy an adapter to use with this computer. Apart from that, there are no issues with this machine. 

  • Efficient design
  • Noiseless operation
  • Fast and powerful performance
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Lacks HDMI port

5. Computer Upgrade King Workstation Desktop

For those who do not know, Computer Upgrade King is a brand that specializes in upgrades and customizations of prebuilt desktops and laptops from leading brands. This desktop computer is custom-built with powerful components and is a worthy choice for architecture students. 

Empowered PC Sentinel Gaming Desktop - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 16GB,...
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5700X Eight Core Processor...
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4 3200MHz | Hard Drive: 512GB NVMe...

Why Did We Like It?

This workstation from Computer Upgrade King should be your pick if you are going for a custom rig instead of a branded, prebuilt one. It comes with a 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 5950x processor, the most powerful among AMD processors, and can deliver insane performance in almost any application. 

The storage options on this machine are some of the best we’ve seen, with a 1 TB Nvme SSD coupled with a 2 TB hard disk drive. This will be enough for most users who need to store a large amount of data on their systems without running out of storage space. 

There is also the Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 GPU for high-performance operations, making this machine a great choice for all users.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

For a liquid-cooled system, we expected this computer from Computer Upgrade King to be a bit more silent. Unfortunately, it is on the noisier side but not too loud to cause distractions while working. And, as for its overall performance, you won’t have anything to complain about. 

  • Value for money
  • Superb customer care
  • Three-year warranty
  • Accessories included
  • A bit noisy

6. Apple iMac

The Apple iMac is the standard Apple desktop that the company offers for all consumers and comes with impressive internal and external hardware. Available in multiple color options, it comes with the powerful Apple M1 chip and a 4.5K Retina display making it one of the best Mac products. 

Apple 2021 iMac All-in-one Desktop Computer with M1 chip: 8-core CPU,...
  • SUPERCHARGED BY M1 — M1 delivers exceptional...
  • FITS PERFECTLY INTO YOUR LIFE — The all-in-one...

Why Did We Like It?

Apple products are known for their sleek and modern design, and the 2021 iMac is no different. At 11.5 mm, it is one of the thinnest all-in-one computers we’ve come across, providing a modern aesthetic while helping save space on your work desk. 

The 4.5K retina display comes with a P3 wide color gamut and 500 nits of brightness, making images appear clear and vibrant from all viewing angles. This is quite an advantage for those working in the graphic design and architecture industries. 

As for the performance, the M1 chip from the company that unifies the functions of CPU and GPU can handle all tasks with ease. This includes even the most complex simulations and graphically intensive applications, which are required for designing architectural models and structures. 

What Could’ve Been Better?

While we did not find any drawbacks regarding the performance of this machine, the included keyboard and mouse did not offer the same level of satisfaction. They have been designed to match the aesthetics of the computer, which has resulted in a design that cannot be called ergonomic. 

  • Sharp display
  • Incredible processing power
  • Sleek design
  • Durable construction
  • The mouse and keyboard are not ergonomically designed

7. Alienware Gaming Desktop

Owned by Dell, the Alienware brand is best known for its range of gaming laptops and desktops. This desktop computer from the company comes with a liquid cooling system and the latest Ryzen processor that delivers a silent and lag-free experience. Such features make it ideal for gamers, architects, and digital artists. 

Why Did We Like It?

If you’re looking for the best desktop for architects that can almost be called a piece of art, then this machine from Alienware makes perfect sense. It has a modern chassis based on the Legend Industrial design that allows efficient airflow and supports liquid cooling, allowing noiseless operation. 

Powering the system is an AMD Ryzen 12-core processor, which has the highest single-core performance in this segment and offers unparalleled performance. All your 3D modeling and design software applications can run easily on it, making it a great choice for architects. 

Additionally, you’re going to love the fact that all the I/O ports are positioned in such a manner that they are easily accessible. These ports are also surrounded by AlienFX lighting, providing better visibility when connecting peripherals.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

Offering the highest levels of performance along with a modern design, the Alienware gaming desktop is among the best computers for architects. But, this design makes it quite difficult to open the case for maintenance and upgrade purposes. So, keep that in mind if upgradability is a major requirement. 

  • Easily accessible ports
  • Liquid cooling
  • Locking mechanism
  • Smooth performance
  • The case does not open easily

8. Lenovo Desktop Computer

Just as Dell has its Alienware brand, Lenovo has its Legion series of gaming desktops and laptops, and this computer is one of its best offerings. Powered by the Intel 12th generation processor, it is meant to run games at the highest settings and, therefore, can run other applications easily. 

Lenovo Legion T5 Gamer Desktop Computer (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 TI...
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X Twelve Core Processor...
  • RAM: 64GB DDR5 5600MHz | Hard Drive: 1TB NVMe...

Why Did We Like It?

Among computing brands, Lenovo is known for offering the most features at the lowest prices, and this gaming PC is no different. It comes with the latest Intel 12th generation i9 processor and 64GB of DDR5 RAM, making it an extremely powerful CPU. 

This allows it to deliver a buttery-smooth user experience, even while running very heavy applications such as those for 3D modeling and rendering. Its internal drives include a 1 TB Nvme SSD and a 3 TB HDD, which runs at 7200 RPM. This is sufficient for most users who need to keep a large amount of data on their PC. 

Additionally, for running graphics-intensive applications, the Legion desktop comes with Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090, which has immense power and provides the best experience.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

While testing the Lenovo Legion desktop, we noticed that the pre-installed SSD takes up a RAM slot, limiting the RAM upgrade options. You will need to remove the SSD from the slot to add more RAM. Most other options at this price point offer separate slots for the RAM and SSD. 

  • Incredible performance in all applications
  • Latest components
  • Reasonably priced
  • Three-year warranty
  • SSD takes up a RAM slot

9. HP Envy Desktop

Most of you must have heard of the HP brand, one of the oldest computing companies, known for its desktops and laptops that deliver exceptional performance. The Envy series includes high-end systems like this one that perfectly meets home and professional requirements by offering features like an Intel i7 processor and Nvidia graphics. 

HP 2022 Newest Envy Desktop, Intel Core i7-11700 Processor, NVIDIA...
  • 【Memory & Storage】The PC memory has been...
  • 【Processor】 Intel Core i7-11700 Processor...

Why Did We Like It?

This HP Envy desktop is a highly versatile machine with several noteworthy features, perfect for a wide range of purposes. It has an Intel Core i7 11700 processor with turbo boost technology that utilizes all the cores to take your performance to the next level. 

The 64GB pre-installed RAM is more than adequate for even the heaviest and most complex operations and allows you to multitask easily. And, you can store a large amount of data thanks to the 512GB PCI-E Nvme SSD and 1 TB hard disk. 

Another thing we liked about this machine is that it comes with several connectivity ports that allow you to add multiple peripherals easily, including printers, additional monitors, and more. These include USB Type-C and Type-A ports, HDMI and display ports, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ports. 

Also, the HP Envy includes accessories such as a mouse and keyboard in the package.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

While most computers from other brands in this price range include the latest GPUs from Nvidia, like the RTX 3080 or 3090, this one comes with the older RTX 3060. This may be a letdown for some, but we did not find anything to complain about performance-wise. 

  • No bloatware
  • Fast performance
  • Comes with accessories
  • Easy to set up
  • Older Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 GPU

10. Lenovo Thinkstation Desktop PC

The Lenovo Thinkstation is the most powerful workstation from the company, thanks to its impressive internals and solid build quality. Its components include the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro, a 12-core processor, and 32GB SDRAM that allows multitasking seamlessly while running the most resource-intensive applications. 

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 30E000DQUS Workstation - 1 x AMD Ryzen...
  • With 32 GB of memory, run as many programs as you...
  • Optimize the performance of business networks with...

Why Did We Like It?

With its powerful specifications, the Lenovo Thinkstation is among the best desktop-based workstations on the market. The Ryzen Threadripper Pro is ideal for architecture students since it can perform at high levels in all situations, whether it is 3D modeling or performing highly complex calculations. 

It is supported by 32GB of RAM, allowing users to develop projects efficiently without problems like lags and freezes. And this speed is further enhanced due to the presence of an SSD, which delivers faster performance than traditional hard disks. You also get a 1 TB HDD for storage purposes and an Nvidia Quadro T1000 for graphics-intensive tasks.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

The Nvidia Geforce T1000 is by no means the best offering from the GPU company and can hardly match the levels of performance that higher-end options deliver. We only wished the manufacturer had used a 3000 series card, which would have delivered more power for GPU-intensive tasks. 

  • Three-year warranty
  • Good overall performance
  • Suitable for most applications
  • Good build quality
  • Unimpressive GPU

11. Dell Precision Desktop Computer

Next, we have the Dell Precision desktop computer, which offers the perfect combination of price and performance and is ideal for most users. Powered by the Intel Xeon E5-2660 processor and Nvidia Quadro K2000 GPU, it delivers a fantastic experience so you can design and create without limits. 

Dell Precision 7910 / T7910 Tower - 2X Intel Xeon E5-2660 V3 10-Core...
  • Dell Precision 7910 / T7910 Tower
  • 2x Intel Xeon E5-2660 V3 10-Core 2.6Ghz

Why Did We Like It?

Designed exclusively for professionals, this computer from the Dell Precision series is perfect for architects. It runs on the 2x Intel Xeon E5 2660 Processor, which has ten cores and delivers the best performance at this price point. Similarly, you get 64GB of DDR4 RAM, making it easy to run several programs simultaneously. 

The rig comes with an Nvidia Quadro K2000 2GB graphics card for graphics-intensive tasks, like rendering work. So, architects and artists will find it an ideal option for their professional work. 

What’s more, you get a 480GB SSD and a 2 TB hard disk for storing your data, which can meet the storage needs of most users. The system also includes Windows 10 operating system, which supports almost any application you might need.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

The processor used in this machine was released in 2014 and does not support Windows 11. If you want to upgrade to the newest operating system from Microsoft, then it is best to look for alternatives with supported processors. 

  • Durable build
  • Outstanding performance
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for different uses
  • Not upgradeable to Windows 11

Desktop computers for architects buying guide

Desktop Computers For Architects Buying Guide

In this section, we’ve mentioned some important factors that should be considered when buying a desktop computer. Keeping these factors in mind will help you select the most suitable option. 

1. CPU And GPU

The CPU or the processor is the most important component of your computer and is responsible for all the calculations and operations that the machine performs. While the designing and modeling tasks are handled by the architect, it is the CPU that automates functions like running simulations and handling calculations. 

On the other hand, the GPU is the component that undertakes graphically intensive operations which the CPU cannot handle. A GPU may be integrated as part of the CPU or a dedicated one in the form of a graphics card. 

There are lots of options when it comes to both CPUs and GPUs. AMD and Intel are the two main companies that manufacture CPUs, and the former also has its own line of GPUs. The other well-known manufacturer of graphics cards is Nvidia. 

When selecting a CPU, opt for one that matches your requirements. The newest and most powerful CPUs from Intel include its 12th gen processors that start from i3 and go up to i9. Similarly, the most recent processors from AMD come under its Ryzen 5000 series. As for the GPU, you can go either with the latest Nvidia 3000 or the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series of cards. 

2. RAM

When selecting a desktop computer, always go with an option with a high amount of dedicated RAM and additional slots for adding more. For running applications like AutoCAD, Rhino, and others that architects use, it is recommended to have at least 64GB of RAM. 

This will ensure that such heavy programs run flawlessly without suffering from problems that can affect the user experience. 

Also, pay attention to the VRAM, which is the amount of graphics memory available to the system. This memory supports processes like architectural designing, 2D and 3D editing and remodeling, and similar operations. 

3. Storage

The storage options include SSDs and HDDs, with the former offering greater speed and the latter being more affordable. However, the best options on the market come with both storage options that meet both speed and space requirements. But you should check whether there are extra slots that support additional drives in case you need to upgrade in the future. 

Desktop Computers For Architects Frequently Asked Questions?

Are All-in-One Desktop PCs Better Than Tower PCs For Architects?

All-in-one computers offer the advantage of using less space due to their compact form factor while delivering great performance. However, in many cases, this limits their capabilities to a certain extent, and they may not come with as powerful components as traditional tower desktop PCs. So, whether such a system can meet your requirements as an architect will depend upon the level of performance it offers. 

What Is The Difference Between CPU And GPU Rendering?

Both CPUs and GPUs can render images and animations using software, but the difference lies in how they undertake and complete the process. The CPU performs various calculations systematically but can be overburdened by graphically intensive tasks. This is where the GPU comes in, as it offers more processing power for such tasks and completes them more quickly. But, CPU rendering offers better quality than GPU rendering despite taking longer. 

Which Is Better, SSD Storage Or Traditional HDD Storage?

More and more computing devices are shifting to SSD storage which is newer and offers much faster speeds than traditional hard disks. Additionally, SSDs or solid-state drives have no moving parts, unlike hard disks, and therefore do not get damaged as easily. On the other hand, being newer, they are costlier and have a limited number of read-write cycles than hard disks. HDDs have unlimited read-write cycles and are more affordable. 

Should You Go With An Integrated Or Dedicated Graphics Computer?

A computer with integrated graphics does not have a discrete graphics card that can provide additional graphical processing power. That does not mean it cannot perform graphically intensive operations, and some integrated GPUs are quite capable of delivering exceptional performance. However, for architects, going with a dedicated GPU is always a better choice since almost all of their projects require more graphical power than can be provided by integrated GPUs. 

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Top Desktop Computers For Architects Verdict

Selecting the best desktop computer for architects isn’t easy, but hopefully, this guide has been of help by reviewing the most compelling options on the market. Also, the factors mentioned in the buying guide can further help simplify the selection process. 

However, if you are still unsure about which option to choose, we recommend going with the Corsair Gaming PC. Its small form factor and the latest Intel 12th gen processor make it a reliable machine for architects. Or, you could opt for the Corsair Workstation PC, a liquid-cooled option that delivers silent and efficient performance. 

With that, it is time for us to conclude this guide, and we will see you in the next one! 

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